Sid Grauman was a showman and theater magnate.
His first theater, which set the groundwork for subsequent operations, was in San Francisco. And it was from Grauman's operation of the small theater — with carpet up the stairs and a different style entry — that Marcus Loew and Alexander Pantages took ideas for their huge theater chains.
Grauman took over six theaters in the Bay Area, then began expanding into Los Angeles.
He built the Million Dollar and Rialto theaters in Los Angeles, which became the talk of the theater world. In 1922 he built the Egyptian Theatre, where he introduced the motion picture prologue — a flesh-and-blood stage tableau setting the stage for the film to be shown.
Five years later he constructed the Chinese Theatre, including reserved seats and luxury surroundings. It was in the forecourt of the building that he originated the now-famous handprints of filmdom's celebrities in concrete.
Six decades after his death, Grauman's Chinese Theatre remains a popular location for Hollywood premieres.